reach Copa America semis with 2-1 win over Ecuador
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[June 17, 2016]
(Reuters) - The United States
survived a late onslaught to beat Ecuador 2-1 and advance to the
semi-finals of the Copa America for the first time since 1995 after
a pulsating and sometime fractious match in Seattle on Thursday.
Clint Dempsey and Gyasi Zardes scored for the U.S. either side of
half time and Michael Arroyo got one back for Ecuador in a game that
saw one player from each side sent off and the Ecuador coach
banished to the stands.
Ecuador came into the game more after Antonio Valencia and Jermaine
Jones were shown red cards in the 51st minute but the hosts
prevailed to set up a semi-final against either Argentina or
Venezuela in Houston next Tuesday.
"We've come so far now and now we get even hungrier for the next
step," said U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
"The team performance was outstanding. They were helping each other
all over the field."
Dempsey, a striker who plays for local club Seattle Sounders, got
the opener for the U.S. after 21 minutes when he rose to head home a
deft cross from Jones.
He almost got a second four minutes later but his angled-drive was
well saved and Alejandro Bedoya should have done better when
Dempsey's pass left him with a shot on goal that Alexander Dominguez
got down well to smother.
At the other end, Brad Guzan did well to turn an Enner Valencia shot
round the post as he honed in on goal.
Then came the dismissals with Antonio Valencia sent off for a second
yellow after hacking down Bedoya and his fellow midfielder Jones
harshly shown a straight red for raising his hand in the ensuing
Zardes doubled the home side's lead when he poked home
from inches out after Dempsey had beaten the goalie but the goal
roused Ecuador and they took control of the game.
[to top of second column]
United States forward Clint Dempsey (8) dribbles while defended by
Ecuador defender Frickson Erazo (3) and midfielder Fernando Gaibor
(8) during the second half of quarter-final play in the 2016 Copa
America Centenario soccer tournament at Century Link Field.
Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Enner Valencia should have scored at least twice from close range
headers but it was Arroyo who cut the lead after 73 minutes when he
found the net with a low drive from the edge of the box after the
defense had given him too much space.
The South Americans threw everything at the hosts in the final
quarter but they could not find a second goal and the U.S. advanced
to the last four.
(Writing by Andrew Downie, editing by Nick Mulvenney)
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